Shawn Pittard is the author of These Rivers, a
chapbook of poems from Rattlesnake Press (2004), which includes
“Sacramento Morning,” first-prize winner of Euphony’s
2004 Poetry Contest. His poems, stories, and book reviews have
appeared in publications such as Chrysalis, Cimarron Review,
Confrontation, Lullwater Review, Runes, Poetry Now, Rattlesnake
Review, Slipstream, and Spillway. In collaboration
with Wenxiang Zeng and Bing Fan, his work was represented in the
2003 Painters + Poets exhibition at the di Rosa Preserve’s Off
the Preserve! Gallery in Napa, California. Shawn also
contributes essays on poetry and the arts to The Great
American Pinup -
—from his home in Sacramento. Shawn is also the
author of littlesnake broadside #6. If you’d like a free copy,
send an SASE to Rattlesnake Press.
Shawn Pittard Poems
Dawn: a gray scud of clouds. The banter
of migratory geese searching an expanding city
for resting grounds they used last spring.
As when a man finds a landmark in his hometown
missing—the corner market razed,
and in its place a shining coffee house.
Or when he traces the curve of his lover’s breast,
lingers at the scar—
seeks assurance in what remains familiar.
Sunrise: sycamore leaves fall on wet lawns.
The geese move on beyond the rooflines.
pasted a collage of crimson
to the sidewalk under a pistachio tree
snapped dormant by the frost.
A starling flock draws itself tight—
like a seine around insects over downtown traffic:
a feeding frenzy
above the Soo Yuen Benevolent Society.
From this fifth-floor window, I can see
beyond Chinatown’s turquoise roofs,
past the buzzing interstate
to riverbank treetops.
Inside green shadows
of the river’s roiling sound,
steelhead trout rise to the salmon’s spawn,
feast on orange roe—
borne on the current like manna.